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"Do you ever feel bad for hurting your characters?", 8 days ago, 2:29 PM #1
Socratatus

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I do.

Sometimes I don`t want to hurt them. Smashing an innocent woman into a wall makes me wince. Having a Hero have his arm chopped off can be sad. I want them to sometimes get through with no problems at all- ever. Sometimes I feel bad for even hurting innocent civilians.... Blowing up a zeppelin makes me wonder about all the personell getting killed in it!

And yet I have to!

There is no exciting action story where heroes can fight back if evil can`t hurt good people. The villain has no gravitas.

Does that make me evil?

Anyway, does anyone feel the same about their fave characters?
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8 days ago, 2:44 PM #2
lirvilas
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Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: I feel far less bad about subjecting my crew to gunshots, electrocution, falls, car collisions, burns, etc. than relationship precipitated emotional distress. A child missing her mother bothers me a lot more than a half dozen goons in suits getting their heads blown off like rotten pumpkins.
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8 days ago, 2:50 PM #3
Simzi
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Kind of yes and no?

I have to admit that usually when writing, I'm not particularly attached to any of the unnamed characters, so I don't really feel guilt about offing random extras <.< And similarly to lirvilas, I'm much more bothered with causing emotional trauma than physical trauma.

However, I do sometimes get a twinge of guilt when I realize that the best way to fix a plothole or just advance the story is to totally destroy one of my characters emotionally, even if it's also kind of cathartic in a way. After all, without drama, there's no story. As much as I feel bad for putting characters through hardships, I really enjoy thinking of difficult situations they could get themselves into and how they'll deal with them, because it helps develop the character.

One thing that helps ease the guilt is that most my characters are pretty flawed people, so the bad things they get themselves into are at least partially self-caused lol.
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8 days ago, 3:01 PM #4
Zero Hour

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It depends with one. I don't have problem with hurting Power physically as he is at the point pain doesn't bothers him anymore and it's not like he could die from as little as losing all his blood, internal organs, being decapitated, poisoned and on fire. Most other of my OC's also can handle a beating. I would feel bad about hurting only 2-3 of them
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8 days ago, 3:16 PM #5
JammyTheBirb
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Not at all, nope!

Call me heartless, but I never feel bad for hurting my characters and it's not hard for me to do when it comes to that. Everything that happens is for a reason, and I have several lines I don't cross, so all of that adds up to me feeling zero guilt. It doesn't mean I don't love my characters tons or feel sad for them, I just consider that a different feeling. The things that happen to them are part of their lives and part of who they are so I don't have any problems with it.
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8 days ago, 3:30 PM #6
TheStrangerous

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Do I feel bad for the character? Yes.
Is it my doing? No. Because they have an AI on their own, because they never follow my script...
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8 days ago, 3:31 PM #7
Socratatus

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Good comments all.

I do agree that feeling bad for your characters is a little silly considering they aren`t real, and I know they aren`t cos I made them up!
But like the above poster says sometimes it feels like they came of themselves and I`m just a channel to get the story out!

Ahhh, just my musings...
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8 days ago, 3:43 PM #8
Jeremy7
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It's complicated!
I don't mind characters getting hurt. Black eyes, electrocution, getting the wind knocked out of them, stuff like that. I write superheroes.
The problem is that I feel like some of the violence I've written uncovers a dark part of my psyche. Specifically, I've made two comics where a minor loses a hand, one permanent, the other for a joke. And to be honest, I feel like I've crossed a line.
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8 days ago, 4:19 PM #9
JC Webcomics

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I do, but I started my first novel when I was 15 (aka half my life ago), so I've had a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that, as a writer, I will end up hurting my characters. It helps that they tend to grow from the experience and become stronger.

I don't tend to work in excessive violence or death (I've debated if I really need a V! flag on The Strangest Coven, since I work at like, PG-13 max). So maybe I'd feel worse if I were putting my characters through more gruesome stuff.

I think drawing my characters getting hurt makes me feel worse than writing them getting hurt though.
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8 days ago, 4:36 PM #10
DiggityDogDingo

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It depends on the situation. They arn't real in the sense that we are, but to some extent you've still breathed life into a character. The more time you spend with them, the stronger their will and personality tends to become. To the point where you can definitively predict how they might react in a situation. In that way, they are real because your ability to force them to act out of character somewhat diminishes the better you come to know them.


In that sense, I do feel bad when they are hurt. I don't particularly enjoy seeing them suffer but it feels almost retrospective and I couldn't separate them from their trials even if I wanted to.
8 days ago, 4:53 PM #11
Chernobog

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Not in the slightest. Struggle and tragedy are good ingredients for most any story. When we pull punches, the audience sometimes can see that. And your character dips a little closer to Mary Sue/Gary Stu territory. I also hold that sometimes there can be no growth without suffering, so I see no reason to go easy on a character all the time. Do what the story or world commands of it.
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8 days ago, 5:13 PM #12
E-hero Vulven
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I got older and got over it. They're actors, not fragile snowflakes.
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8 days ago, 5:28 PM #13
Kevtrev

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I definitely do. It feels bizarre to kill off characters' loved ones so casually when to them it's a traumatizing, life-changing event. I still do it because it serves the story, but I don't like doing it.

It's easier if I decide which characters will die BEFORE I start writing the story, because then I go in knowing those characters' fates well in advance. But if I'm a ways into the story and I realize one of my beloved characters "has to die" because the story sort of dictates it, oof, that's rough.

Maybe I should just write goofy Looney Tunes stories where characters can survive getting smashed by anvils and falling down ravines.
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8 days ago, 5:28 PM #14
J-son

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Fuck no, my characters suck. Plus hurting them is the only way to relieve myself really

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8 days ago, 5:30 PM #15
BustyLaroo

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Yeah... then I cackle gleefully and do it anyway because sweet, delicious drama. LOL
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8 days ago, 6:17 PM #16
rcbirdy

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No tears from the writer, no tears from the reader. Some legitimately unfair things are gonna happen in my story (and my main character is the type to take every one of those things personally) but I have to tell it anyway.
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8 days ago, 6:19 PM #17
Socratatus

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E-hero Vulven:I got older and got over it. They're actors, not fragile snowflakes.


Interesting. I see it as they don`t really know they`re actors. To them it`s all real.


Thanks to all for your point of views.
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8 days ago, 6:21 PM #18
Leafa
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I was going to say no, because I plan my stories in advance, I know how they are going to end, I don't hurt my characters needlessly, it is always part of their story and growth...

But I'm drawing some really tough stuff in Earth in a Pocket right now and... yeah, I think I do feel bad. I'm looking forward to getting onto something a bit brighter because it's actually affecting my own mood.
8 days ago, 6:23 PM #19
Socratatus

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Leafa:I was going to say no, because I plan my stories in advance, I know how they are going to end, I don't hurt my characters needlessly, it is always part of their story and growth...

But I'm drawing some really tough stuff in Earth in a Pocket right now and... yeah, I think I do feel bad. I'm looking forward to getting onto something a bit brighter because it's actually affecting my own mood.





Yes you do know how it`s going to end, but they don`t. So each moment of pain and horror is real for them. That`s how I see it.

But I don`t say this to be snowflaky, in fact thinking of it this way is how I make my characters more believable- at least to me. If you`re going to be a real hero you`re gonna have to suffer some pain. A hero is not a hero without suffering adversity. The more heroic, the bigger the adversity/pain!:)
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8 days ago, 6:36 PM #20
Leafa
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Yeah, that's true! I've got the sniffles writing comic scripts sometimes and I definitely did with Earth in a Pocket, but I thought that by the time I finally got around to doing the drawings for those scenes, I might have already got over it a bit. Guess not. Let's hope that means it's powerful stuff!

I'm sure I'm not the only person who tends to take on the expression of the character as I'm drawing them, too. If they are grimacing in a drawing, I'll be grimacing too!
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